After leaving Malta at 4am with a 15 hour run to Licata, Sicily planned we ended up diverting into Marina di Ragusa after 9 hours. The conditions were not as forecast and we endured a miserable, large, confused swell which made Vega roll and lurch from side to side incessantly. Things were so bad that for only the second time in her sailing career, Milly threw up. Add to that a rather nasty thunderstorm and our Malta to Sicily trip takes the number 1 spot on our list of uncomfortable crossings.
We tried calling Calyxa and Intention on the VHF to update them on our plans, but couldn’t raise them, so we put into Marina di Ragusa for a break. Both Calyxa and Intention stoically plodded on all the way to arrive in Licata at night and feeling tired and sick.
A bonus of pulling into Marina de Ragusa was the chance to catch the bus inland to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ragusa itself. It is a lovely little town made up of small buildings cascading down the steep and hilly terrain, there are magnificent piazzas and small narrow, winding streets but to be fair, we were not entirely sure it is worthy of World Heritage Status….!
Next stop was the Aegadian Islands and as we hopped along the south Sicilian coast we had some cracking sails and even got the cruising chute up a couple of times. However the anchorages are exposed and rolly and can make for an uncomfortable night’s sleep. There is nothing worse than a yacht on an apparently calm sea rolling uncontrollably from side to side with every pot, pan, jar and bottle cluncking together all night long. It’s like torture.
The most picturesque of the Aegadis is Marettimo. Its steep sided, lush faces rise up out of the sea , looking just like a Pacific Island. The water surrounding it is deep and blue, and easily the clearest we have seen in the Mediterranean. The snorkeling was excellent, with caves, swim throughs and little bommies making up an underwater terrain that is fabulous to explore. On the north east tip is an old castle which has been restored and you can climb up to. It’s a short walk, but in the heat it was a bit of a slog, although the views were incredible.